Jupiter is spacey, but could this name be just on the right side of daring?
Thanks to Emilie for suggesting our Baby Name of the Day: Jove.
Jove is far from common – Nancy tells us that just ten boys received the name in 2009. But review the list of J names given to boys, and you’ll notice Jovan. Parents could have invented him by stringing together appealing sounds, but he’s also one of the many international variants of John. Other names on the list favor the sound, too: Jovani, Jovel, Jovian.
Jove is an alternate name for Jupiter, king of the gods in the Roman pantheon. He’s the chief, the mac daddy. There’s a Latin grammar lesson required to explain the link between Jupiter and Jove, so let’s just say that descriptive terms for the god, and the planet that bears his name, revert to the earlier form: jovian.
Tales of the thunderbolt-wielding monarch fill books. He was worshipped in the largest temple on Capitoline Hill. Just as we swear to tell the whole truth in court proceedings by placing our hand on a Bible, ancient Romans swore “by Jove.” And yet today, say Jupiter and most of us will think of the planet – again, the largest planet in our solar system – the one that bears his name.
Jovianus had some use in Ancient Rome. Flavius Jovianus became emperor in the fourth century, but his reign lasted all of eight months. He’s remembered for ending Christian persecutions, substituting the persecution of pagans instead. An elite unit of guards charged with protecting the emperor were known as the Jovians. And centuries later, Italian poet Giovanni Pontano wrote as Jovianus Pontanus in the 1400s.
But mostly, Jove is a rarity as a given name through the generations. There are a few uses that might ring a bell:
- Jove Books publishes paperbacks, mostly on the sci fi to romance continuum;
- In the Philippines, Jove Francisco is a TV5 anchor – but he was born Joseph Vincent;
- Florida’s Jupiter Inlet traces its name to the Hobe tribe, who lived there at the time of the Spanish settlement. Hobe was written in Spanish as Jobe; a mapmaker misunderstood it at Jove, and the name stuck. A nearby town is called Juno Beach.
None of this makes Jove sound particularly appealing, but here’s one thing that might be in his favor: our word jovial. Jovial means merry, mirthful. Astrologers believed that the planet exerted a positive influence, bringing good fortune to those born under his signs, Sagittarius and Pisces. Other names with similiarly upbeat meanings, like Asher and Felix, are quite current.
Throw in Jove’s bright sound, celestial starbabies like Orion and the rise of little rulers like Kingsley and Kingston, and we could be just one appealing television character away from Jove finding favor with more adventurous parents.